Well, that didn’t take long.
Instead of spending the first segment agonizing over Wally’s fate, Barry wastes no time deciding (in super speed no less) on a trip down into the rabbit hole that is the Speed Force to rescue Wally from that “fate worse than death” Savitar promised. After Cisco concocts an interdimensional locational tether to track Barry—thanks to a suggestion from H.R.—Barry heads into the Speed Force and…
Is immediately confronted by the first of three ghosts of Speed Force past: Eddie Thawne.
Turns out that the Speed Force isn’t too happy with Barry’s meddling with time. Though it may understand his pain and actions that set Flashpoint into motion, it reminds Barry that he still is missing one big aspect of his decision-making, specifically that, for every action, there is a consequence. And Wally’s decision has cast him into his own personal hell, one Barry cannot help him overcome. Of course, Barry wouldn’t be who he is if he gave up so easily. To get to Wally he needs to outrun the first threat on his life, the time wraith. Once he does, he sees another life affected by his choices: Ronnie and Caitlin. So, two people who gave their lives for Barry. And when the Black Flash appears, the second mid-level boss the Flash has to face on his way to Wally, the Speed Force Ronnie tells Barry that he “speak of sacrifice yet you still let others bear the burdens that should be on your shoulders.” Though some may see the commentary as cruel, it is the truth and is as if the Speed Force is holding Barry to a higher standard in the use of his powers. And that he must accept the consequences for his actions. The first order of that is freeing himself from the clutches of the Black Flash and, to do that, he must cut the tether linking him to the real world.
But fear not, there’s always Jay Garrick.
Yep, thanks to a Cisco SOS, the Earth-3 Flash arrives just as Barry’s getting his hat handed to him by Leonard Snart, a man who sacrificed himself for others, a direct result of what Barry saw in Snart. They are able to free Wally from reliving his mother Francine’s death over and over again but it’s not without sacrifice. This time, it’s Jay that gives up his freedom, remaining in the Speed Force so that Barry and Wally can get free.
Despite some unnecessary Iris and Barry drama and Jesse’s suicidal run against Savitar which, by the way, gives Team Flash its first real break against the speed god—that he’s human underneath that armor—again, thanks to H.R.’s quick thinking “Into the Speed Force” is an extremely strong entry as Team Flash continues its course to the final confrontation with Savitar.
But the biggest takeaway, even bigger than the ‘Savitar’s a man, not a god’ revelation, is that Barry finally understands that it has to be him, not Wally, that must take down Savitar. This rededication to the mission puts Barry in the uncomfortable position of having to embrace his responsibility and, in that, take a bit of a time out with Iris. Not a big loss in my opinion (as I am admittedly not a huge fan of the Barry/Iris ‘ship) but will make for Barry’s saving of the day even more satisfying in the end.
- Thanks to Jay’s sacrifice, Jesse’s heading out. Taking the mantle of Flash on Earth-3 while Jay’s in Speed Force time out, she also needs to answer her own questions/doubts brought on by Savitar’s promise of the wonderful things he has planned for her. Where does that leave the Wally/Jesse romance? According to Jesse, “this isn’t goodbye”. We’ll be seeing more of Jesse Quick down the line.
- I’ve said it from day one, but the more I see of H.R. the more I believe that fate has a higher purpose for him. Every time members of the team stray or need a bit of guidance, H.R. is there to redirect them. This week he gave Cisco the idea of the inter-dimensional tether and then, the biggest advance in the fight with Savitar, his theory that Savitar is a man underneath the armor is confirmed by Jesse. I know there are those out there who believe he may be the man underneath the Savitar mask and, while I’m not quite sure if that will come to fruition, I do know that the continual underestimation of what H.R. brings to the table (generally by those who have yet to see past his caffeine-addicted goofiness) I can’t help but think we have yet to see everything underneath that “aww golly gee” persona.
- Finally, we can’t forget about that wonderful pop culture meta. From Buzz Lightyear’s famous “to infinity and beyond” to references to Super Mario, The Iron Giant, and Peanuts, take your pick as to which was your favorite. Of course, there’s also the Speed Force Snart taunting Jay Garrick for being slow in his “Golden Age”.